Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Red, White and Blue

In honor of  The 4th of July, this week's theme for Wordless Wednesday is


California 341


95 Zermatt 008

and Blue.

Ireland 028 

02a4886a34ca69e7_o For more of Wordless Wednesday, head on over to French Lique, Texas, where Dixie is playing gracious hostess.

Only in Arkansas

Arkansans have always been an enterprising sort, and here's proof.  This photo was taken by my friend Don in a hospital parking lot on a recent trip to Little Rock.  Looks like this person is looking for any way possible to beat the recent heat.


A few weeks later Don returned to Little Rock on business.  Look what he found in the same hospital parking lot.


I really think the rest of the country could take a lesson from those clever Arkansans about how to be inventive and creative in hard times.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Sound of Silence

Brent, Katie, Walker and Lauren headed home to Savannah this morning.  The house is certainly quiet, and I’m at a loss for something to do.  I just can’t seem to make myself pick up the blocks and cars…

silence 002

or put away the peanut butter and vanilla wafers…

silence 004 

or put the “tupperwares” back in the cabinet.  Sigh.

silence 003

The good news is that they will be back in 2 1/2 weeks.  It’s so nice to have them closer.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Haircut

haircut 001While Katie and Baby Lauren took a much needed nap, KBeau got to take Walker to Fantastic Sam’s for his first haircut. It was one of those grandmother experiences that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Like all of my boys, Walker has fine blonde hair, so all he needed was a little trim around the ears and at the neck. Memory asked me if I wanted to hold him, but I naively replied, “Let’s try the booster chair.” I should have known better.

Here we are in our capes, all ready for a little trim.

haircut 003

All was well until Memory brought out the scissors.

haircut 006

Get that camera out of my face.

haircut 008

All done and time to play in the kitchen.

haircut 010

We made it back to the house with a certificate for bravery and a few snips of hair. Katie thought he looked so cute and wondered why she hadn’t gotten it cut sooner.

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 To see more transformations, be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. I’m sure you’ll see lots of lovely make overs, but it’s a grandmother’s prerogative to assure you that none are as cute as mine.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Deer Resistant?

verbena 001 When I returned from a week of helping my son and his family move from Annapolis, Maryland, to Savannah, Georgia, I found my perennial pink verbena in full bloom. I’ve had this flower in my garden before, but it’s been a while.

When I saw it at Lowe’s this spring with the words “Deer Resistant” stamped on the tag, I was quick to snatch some up. There are so many things that I can’t grow because the deer feed in my yard every night. They eat the day lilies to the ground before they ever produce any blooms. Knock out roses, hydrangeas of all varieties, hostas and azaleas are all favorites of the deer. And the poor pansies get pulled up roots and all just as quickly as they’re planted.

A couple of weeks after I planted the verbena I went out one morning to find all of the blossoms snipped off. I was soooooooo disappointed. Now they’re blooming profusely. It will be interesting to see how long the blooms last.

verbena 003

bijw9y Happy Pink Saturday to one and all. Family obligations have prevented me from posting for a while, so it’s nice to be back. Please head over to Beverly’s at How Sweet the Sound to see what else is in the PINK.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tweaking My Blog

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 It's Monday and time for Metamorphosis Monday, hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Since I spent most of the day last Wednesday playing with my blog settings, I thought I'd show you what I did and tell you how I did it. I must confess that I was inspired to make these changes when I read THIS POST from Susan. I loved the wider look with the larger type and big pictures. When you've finished here, be sure to head over to Susan's place to see what others have transformed.

If you've visited my blog before, you may remember that it used to look like this. When I started playing around with it, I knew that I wanted to keep the same basic look, but I was interested in wider columns, larger pictures and a larger font.

old blog

I had seen that other bloggers had gone to the minima stretch template to get the wider columns, so I decided to create a test blog to play with that idea. If you are going to try making some changes to your blog, I would definitely create a test blog to try them on (thank you, Susan). I knew from Susan's experience that I would no longer be able to use my old background. With the minima stretch template, the posting area and the sidebar fill the entire screen, so that lace border just wouldn't work any more.

14Blog Background copyMy first thought was to play around with a new background that contained some of the same elements as the old background. So here's what I came up with. It was okay, but I still didn't like it as well as the backgrounds that have a center section for the text and sidebar with a coordinating background and some kind of decorative edge.

So my next thought was to go back to the two-column template and see if I couldn't figure out how to change the column widths. I don't know much about HTML, but I had no problems playing around with a test blog to see what I could figure out, and what you see now is what I came up with. I did have to create a new background to make a wider center section, but I just started with the old background and made the appropriate changes. If you want to change the width of your blog, here are the steps that I followed.

1. Open your blog, sign in, and click on "customize" in the upper right hand corner. Then click on the layout tab and click on "Edit HTML." Scroll down until you see this in the HTML code.

original two column 2. Notice that the width of the outer wrapper is 660 pixels, the width of the main wrapper is 410 pixels, and the width of the sidebar wrapper is 220 pixels. If you add together the widths of the main wrapper and the sidebar wrapper, the total is 30 pixels less that the width of the outer wrapper. I have no idea if this is important. I assumed that the total of the main wrapper and sidebar wrapper widths should not exceed the total width of the outer wrapper, but I didn't really know if that 30 pixel difference was important. However, I decided to assume that it was.

3. With those things in mind, I started making changes. I first changed the outer wrapper width to 800 pixels and the main wrapper width to 550 pixels, leaving the sidebar wrapper width at 220 pixels. I decided that the sidebar looked too skinny and out of proportion, so I changed the outer wrapper to 900 pixels and made the main wrapper 600 pixels wide and the sidebar 270 pixels wide. So here's what the HTML code looked like after I made those changes.

column width You can click the "preview" button to see what those changes look like. The preview opens in a new window, so you will need to close that and go back to this window to save your template. Once you are satisfied with the changes you've made, click "save template."

4. The next step was to create a new background that would work with my new wider columns. The Cutest Blog on the Block has a pretty good tutorial on how to create your own background. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you have to make the center section wider than the dimensions they give, since you have made the posting area and sidebar wider. You can find their tutorial HERE.

I have also discovered that some of the three-column backgrounds offered by TCBOTB work with the changes I made. I would imagine that there are other sites out there that offer free backgrounds that would have some three-column backgrounds that would work also.

5. Now that I had wider columns, I decided that I needed a larger font. Once again, you need to sign into your blog, if you're not already there, click on "customize" and on the layout tab, click on "fonts and colors." Scroll down in the little window on the left until you see "text font" and click on that. Once you are there, this is what you will see.

type size Just below where it says "font size" keep clicking on "larger" until you get the look you want. You will be able to see the font size getting larger in the preview window. When you are satisfied, click on "save changes."

If you've been working with a test blog, you will need to make these same changes to your real blog. My first thought was that I could simply save the test blog template to my computer and then upload it to my real blog. However, when I tried to do that I got a warning that to do so would delete all of the neat widgets on my sidebar. It was easier to just edit the HTML of my real blog instead of having to reinstall all of my sidebar stuff.

Now that you've made these changes, you are all done unless you are using Windows Live Writer. I highly recommend Live Writer, especially if you want to do large pictures. It's so easy to just insert the picture, select the positioning (inline, right, left or center), and drag it to the size you want. However, Windows Live Writer won't recognize the changes you've made to your blog unless you reconfigure it. So here's how.

Open Live Writer. On the toolbar, click on "blogs" then "edit blog settings." In the window that opens, you will see a button that says "update account configuration." Click on that, let Live Writer do its thing, and you are set to go.

One more thing. In the process of playing around with the minima stretch template, I figured out how to make the border around my header picture fit the size of my picture. However, this post is long enough already, and I feel as if I've just lived yesterday all over again. So I'll save that for another post.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sweets for the Sweet

edited cookies 003

Happy Pink Saturday to everyone.  My sister-in-law Susie and her friends Janie Craddock and Zanette Bell made 1,000 of these delicious cookies for Susie's son Wes' wedding in 2006.  The recipe has now been published in Paula Deen's Best Desserts special edition.  You can read more about it HERE.

IMG_1173 In the meantime, I'm off to Annapolis where I will see this little bundle of pinkness for the first time.  Lauren was born May 18.  I will be helping her and her family move to Savannah.  Perhaps I'll run into Paula.

bijw9y For more Pink Saturday, be sure to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.  As usual there will be lots and lots of participants.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Celebrity in the Family

Foodie_Friday_Logo_2 I have been anxiously waiting for this week's Foodie Friday, hosted by Gollum at Designs by Gollum. My excitement is not because I created or discovered some grand new recipe that I'm dying to share. Heck, LBeau has been out of town this week, so I've hardly cooked unless you count stirring up some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Even when he's in town, I all too often get lost on the computer and then have to scramble (sometimes it's eggs) to put something on the table for dinner.

edited cookies 004 Earlier this week I learned that my SIL Susie has been published in Paula Deen's Best Desserts which recently hit the newsstand. Susie first submitted her recipe for Butter Meltaways with Pink Frosting shortly after her son Wes' wedding in February of 2006. Future DIL Kate had thought it would be a neat idea to have Susie, her own mother Sarah, and herself each bake a favorite cookie for the wedding guests to take home as favors. With the help of her friends, Susie made 1,000 Butter Meltaways. Kate made chocolate chip cookies, and Sarah's contribution was gingersnap cookies.

scan0001 Sometime after the wedding Susie learned that the recipe had been published in Paula's magazine when she got a phone call from Wes. He told her that one of his friends had told him about the recipe being in the magazine, and then he said, "I just want you to know it was my wedding too."

scan0002 It seems that when Susie submitted the recipe to Paula she said that she had made them for her daughter-in-law's wedding reception. Well, what could she say to poor Wes except that it's all about the bride and the dress anyway. The magazine also said that Susie is from Little Rock instead of Conway. Susie says that back in 2006 nobody had ever heard of Conway, and Little Rock is only 30 miles away. Now, of course, Kris Allen and American Idol have put Conway on the map.

So now Paula has reprinted the recipe for her Best Desserts special edition. Once again she notes that Susie and her friends made the cookies for her DIL's wedding reception and once again Susie is "from Little Rock, Arkansas." Oh well, it's still nice to be published.

scan0004 Now if you want to read the blurb about Susie, just head out to your favorite newsstand and shell out the $8.99 for Best Desserts. Ouch! I was hoping to find it at Barnes & Noble so that I could use my discount, but I had to buy it at Fresh Market. Too late I found out today from Susie that she got it at TJ Maxx for $6.

Susie's sister Ann said, "Congratulations, but are you worth $8.99 when I have the original recipe from the Armstrong Elementary cookbook?"

If you just want the recipe for Butter Meltaways, then here it is.

Butter Meltaways with Pink Frosting

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup plus 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 1 drop red food coloring

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Separate dough into 4 equal parts, and roll each into a smooth log. Wrap each log in parchment paper. Chill dough for at least 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and let stand for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Slice dough in 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and food coloring. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Pipe or dollop a small amount of frosting on top of cooled cookies. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Work in Progress

stretch header I have been intrigued by some of the blogs that have gone to the wider format with the capability of posting really large pictures. This morning I created a test blog to work with this format in the hopes of using it with Life in the Slow Lane.

I want to get everything right—header, background, font size—before switching to the minima stretch format. There were a couple of things that I did not like about the wider format. For one, I don’t like the really wide header with the pictures that don’t fill the border. I know you can delete the border, but I sort of like it and have been working out how to make it smaller. I think I got that right and will be posting instructions at some point. Now I’m working on the background.

If you want to check my progress, here is the LINK to my test blog. Let me know what you think. As a bonus, I’ve posted a couple of new pictures of my grandchildren on the test blog.

Update I—I have about decided that there are still things I like about the regular format that I don't want to give up. With the stretch format, for example, it is just about impossible to have a center section with something decorative running along the edges. So I went back to the regular two-column format and adjusted the widths of the columns. I'm still tweaking.

Update II—Well, I've been at it for much of the day, and what you see now is pretty close to the finished product.  I just got through updating Windows Live Writer so that it recognizes my new template.  I'll probably post some of the steps I went through on Show and Tell this Friday.  I was going to wait until Metamorphosis Monday, but I will be traveling that day and probably would not be able to link the post.  Friday is going to be a busy posting day for me because I have something I just have to share on Foodie Friday.

I think that's about all I can do today.  My contacts are about stuck to my eyeballs from staring at the computer screen.  Does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ancient Art

WallWednesday It’s time once again for What’s on Your Wall Wednesday, hosted by Barb at Grits and Glamour.  I was so excited when Barb posted a reminder on her blog because I’ve needed an inspiration for a new post. I have been so busy lately that I’ve neglected my blog.  When you’re finished here, be sure to head over to see Barb where she will have links to other participants.


watercolor 001 This watercolor hangs just above my magnetic memo board that I posted about HERE.  A few years ago I rescued it from a drawer at my mother’s house, had it reframed, and hung it in my kitchen.  When I painted it back in 1957, Mother had it framed in a simple black frame, and it hung in her kitchen for years.  I think it was banished to the drawer once her grandchildren started giving her their art work.  There just wasn’t room for everything.

My Aunt Mary, who painted the portrait of me on the pig that I use for my blog header, let me use her set of watercolors when I painted this for the fifth grade art show.  These were special watercolors.  They didn’t come in a tin box with a fat brush that you couldn’t shape the way you wanted if your life depended on it.  These watercolors came in tubes, and you squeezed the paint onto palettes and mixed it with water.

Aunt Mary lived next door, so every afternoon after school I would head over to her house, sit at her kitchen table, and work on my masterpiece.  I was so proud of it, and I think I even won a blue ribbon.

watercolor 002 The inspiration for my painting was this tile hot pad that Aunt Mary always kept on the countertop beside her stove.  Since she gave it to me a few years ago, I have kept it on the countertop beside my stove.  Even though it’s cracked and has been mended, it still comes in handy.

Now that I think about it, my barn painting is more than 50 years old.  Do y’all think that makes it ancient art?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

98 and Counting

Today we are in Memphis celebrating LBeau’s mother’s 98th birthday.

Mema Martha is an amazing woman. A widow for more than half her life, until just a few years ago she lived by herself in Newport, Arkansas. She now lives in Memphis with LBeau’s oldest sister, where she still keeps up with all of the world news and works the daily crossword puzzle religiously. She’s also always up for a challenging game of Scrabble.

Mvc-239l Born June 7, 1911, in Union Church, Mississippi, her family later moved to Lake Village, Arkansas, where her father was a farmer and later the county sheriff. It was there that she met LBeau’s father when he came through town selling farm implements for International Harvester. They eventually settled in Newport when Beau opened an IH dealership.

Martha and Beau raised three children. LBeau is the middle child and the only son. She has eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Here is a picture of Mema with three of the great grandchildren at last year’s birthday celebration. Since then we have added two more greats to the family.

june memphis 014

So here’s to Mema Martha. Happy 98th birthday and many more!!

Newport—A Tribute to the Blue Bridge

A Sunday Favorite

In honor of Mema Martha’s 98th birthday, today I am reposting something I wrote last fall about the town where she spent most of her adult life. When you’re finished here, you might also want to read THIS POST about Mema Martha. Also, be sure to check out other Sunday Favorites at Happy to Design.

I'll never forget my first trip to Newport, Arkansas. It was the summer of 1970, and LBeau and I had been dating since March. He was in Newport to play in the Annual Four-Ball Golf Tournament, and I had been in Fayetteville taking exams for my master's degree.
After completing the exams, I drove to Newport. I remember that the trip seemed like it took forever, but when I finally crossed the old Highway 67 bridge over the White River, I knew I had arrived.
As I recall, the bridge was painted silver in those days, but some time in the late '70's or early '80's they painted it blue. It became symbolic for our children. They knew we were there and would soon see Mema Martha when we finally saw the "Blue Bridge."
LBeau and I traveled back to Newport on Saturday for his 45th high school reunion. We had not been there since we loaded up furniture from Mema Martha's house after she sold it and moved to Memphis. Although we didn't drive out to look at the "Blue Bridge" on this trip, we did see much of the rest of the town. As usual, some things have changed and some things will forever stay the same.
We stayed at the Fortune Inn and Suites, formerly the Park Inn, and we found plenty of improvements. Kelly's Restaurant is gone, but in its place is a modern lobby with HD television, a fancy bar and a breakfast room. On one door was a sign noting that an exercise room is in the works.
On Sunday morning, the helpful lady at the front desk gave us a tour of the bar. It's decorated with memorabilia from musician Sonny Burgess and Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell.

The Bar at the Fortune Inn and Suites

Later we took a drive around town. Although not in the same building, the Silver Moon Club is still at the same location. However, the only thing left of the original Silver Moon is the slab, which is now part of the parking lot, but you can still see the tile from the men's room in the far right corner.

Elvis played at the Silver Moon Club on October 24, 1955. It is one of a number of clubs along U.S. Highway 67 in northeast Arkansas where emerging Rock and Roll artists played in the late '50's. For more information, check out this article from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The whole weekend was a trip down memory lane. At the reunion on Saturday night, there were two displays of classmate pictures. One table featured pictures of living classmates, and the other held photos of those who are deceased. LBeau and one of his friends said that their goal for the 50th reunion was to stay on the live table.

If they keep going back to Newport, they will probably make it. LBeau told me tonight that he thought Newport had therapeutic powers that he attributes to drinking the water and beer and visiting the site of the Silver Moon. He said that his knees weren't hurting today and his back isn't sore. Come to think of it, the crick in my neck has gone away, too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From Sea to Shining Sea and More

02a4886a34ca69e7_o We got a choice today for Wordless Wednesday, and I chose Water—the Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Gulf and the Atlantic.  When you visit Dixie at French Lique, Texas, you’re likely to find that others chose Wind.  Whatever the choice, you’re bound to see some beautiful pictures and perhaps some unique interpretations.  Be sure to check out what others are showing on this Wordless Wednesday.

California 261

France trip 432

beach 033

eastern shore 080

Monday, June 1, 2009

All Grown Up

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 On Metamorphosis Monday, most participants like to show how they’ve redone a room in their home or refinished a piece of furniture. However, since today is my middle son Brent’s 29th birthday, I thought I’d give you the story of his life in pictures, from birth to fatherhood and a new job. When you’ve finished here, be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for more Met Monday.

When Brent decided that it was time for me to go into labor about 10:30 p.m. on May 31, 1980, LBeau and I were playing Bridge with my mother and daddy. My water broke, contractions started immediately, and LBeau and I headed to the hospital, leaving our oldest son Hunter with his Mema and Papa.

It was the weekend, and of course my doctor wasn’t on call. The doctor who was on call, however, was a guy that I had graduated from high school with. But at 12:30 a.m. on June 1, 1980, Brent wasn’t about to wait around, and it was time to forget modesty.

2scan0027Here he is all dressed up to go home from the hospital and mad about something.

scan0097 Brent always had the straightest, finest and blondest hair of our three boys. For his seventh birthday, it looks like I made his favorite cake, yellow cake with chocolate icing.

Brent hs graduation About the time Brent graduated from Briarwood Christian High School in 1998, his hair turned curly.

Brent and Grands The whole family was there for his graduation with honors from the University of Arkansas in 2002, including Papa, Mema Marion and Mema Martha.

Katie & Brent Brent met Katie while they were students at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. They were married December 30, 2005, on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Brent graduated from RTS in May, 2006.

graduation 012 On May 17, 2009, Brent received his Master of Liberal Arts Degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Here he is with Katie and Walker. Baby Lauren was born the next day. Although Brent didn’t hesitate to interrupt a Bridge game, Lauren was not about to mess up her daddy’s graduation.

I will be heading back to Annapolis later this month to help the four of them move to Savannah, where Brent will be teaching at Veritas Academy. Happy Birthday, Brent!!